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Why Do You Need OPC UA?
OPC UA is the next generation of OPC technology. OPC UA is a more secure, open, reliable mechanism for transferring information between servers and clients. It provides more open transports, better security and a more complete information model than the original OPC, “OPC Classic.” OPC UA provides a very flexible and adaptable mechanism for moving data between enterprise-type systems and the kinds of controls, monitoring devices and sensors that interact with real world data.
Why a totally new communication architecture? OPC Classic is limited and not well suited for today’s requirements to move data between enterprise/Internet systems and the systems that control real processes that generate and monitor live data.
These limitations include:
• Platform dependence on Microsoft – OPC Classic is built around DCOM (Distribution COM), an older communication technology that is being de-emphasized by Microsoft
• Insufficient data models – OPC Classic lacks the ability to adequately represent the kinds of data, information and relationships between data items and systems that are important in today’s connected world
• Inadequate security – Microsoft and DCOM are perceived by many users to lack the kind of security needed in a connected world with sophisticated threats from viruses and malware.
OPC UA is the first communication technology built specifically to live in that “no man’s land” where data must traverse firewalls, specialized platforms and security barriers to arrive at a place where that data can be turned into information. OPC UA is designed to connect databases, analytic tools, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and other enterprise systems with real-world data from low-end controllers, sensors, actuators and monitoring devices that interact with real processes that control and generate real-world data.
If you need a flexible, reliable, open and standard protocol to move data between your factory floor or building automation device you need OPC UA.
Taking the First Step
As an automation technology device supplier it’s likely that you don’t have a year or more to figure it out, develop it and ring it out in ten or twenty prototype applications. You have great technology but you’re not industrial networking technology experts and you don’t want to be. That’s where we come in. Our only business is helping automation people just like you get network enabled. It is all we’ve been doing for almost 30 years now.
The Perfect Solution for Your Platform
No hardware Dependencies – Support For Any Hardware Platform
No RTOS Dependencies – Supports Your Favorite OS
Single Task Operation – No Difficult Integration Tasks
ANSI C Source Code – Use Any Development Environment
No TCP/IP Stack Dependencies – Supports any Berkley Sockets type TCP/IP Stack
Real Time Automation supports many operating systems, but here are a few that are the most common:
- Net Silicon
- ARC MQX
- Mentor Nucleus
- Open TCP
- PowerQUICC II Pro
It’s Royalty Free
You’ll pay once and never again. A simple license agreement. No seat fees. No location restrictions. Ship unlimited binaries. It couldn’t be less complicated.
Here’s What You’re Going to Get
Out of the box you’ll get not only the OPC UA source code but a working Windows project that you can use to test it, a single C file with the API for your TCP/IP stack (Windows in this case), an extensive user manual and a PC Tool that you’ll use to send OPC UA Messages to your device. Some folks have been able to get some OPC UA messaging working within a few hours!
|1. OPC UA Nano Embedded Profile Source Code|
|2. 100% ANSI C Source Code|
|3. The Only Source Code solution designed specifically for small embedded microprocessors with as little as 60K of code space and 20K of RAM.|
|4. OPC UA TCP Transport Layer|
|5. Easy to implement Single Task Implementation|
|6. Standard OPC UA Node Space Objects including: Root, View, Objects and Server Object Folders|
|7. Unlimited OPC UA Client channels and sessions|
|8. Ready To Run Sample Application|
|9. Design Assistance with your Address Space|
|10. Full Support at the OPC UA Foundation Test Lab|
|11. C Source Code fully compatible with the OPC UA Foundation Conformance Test Suite|
OPC UA TEST LAB
The OPC Foundation Laboratory provides compliance testing and interoperability testing for OPC UA devices. Devices that carry the OPC UA Certification Logo provides users with assurance that a OPC UA product meets the standard for reliability and interoperability.
Only products that have earned the Certification Logo are eligible for Listing on the OPC Foundation’s website.
Real Time Automation provides 100% support to device manufacturers implementing the RTA OPC UA Source code. From preliminary certification to final pre-certification testing in the RTA test lab to support at the OPC Foundation test lab, RTA is there to ensure that your product is successfully certified.
OK, Why Real Time Automation?
Your best solution for OPC UA is Real Time Automation. The RTA OPC UA royalty free source code stack is a single task solution for OPC UA. This solution was built from the ground up specifically for embedded microcontroller applications. It has an incredibly straight forward, easy to understand API that makes integration of OPC UA into your device almost effortless. The support and responsiveness or our support team is second to none. You receive support from the engineers that use the code every day in real OPC UA products. When you call RTA you will never get an automated voice or be redirected to some foreign country. You get a live, industry recognized OPC UA expert. That is the RTA difference.
Avoiding the 6.5 Common Mistakes in Deploying an OPC UA Server
1. SELECTING THE WRONG PROTOCOL – OPC UA is not a trivial technology to develop, implement or support. Do you really need OPC UA? If you are simply transferring data within the firewall of a factory system it might be more advantageous to use EtherNet/IP, ProfiNet IO or Modbus TCP. If you need more flexible, generic support for transfer to IT Systems OPC UA may be the best choice.
2. PICKING THE WRONG PROFILE – Know what an OPC UA Profile is and what profile you want to support. OPC UA Profiles are collections of testable functionality, termed conformance units, that serve specific platforms and types of applications. The most limited Profile with the least amount of required functionality is the Nano-Embedded Profile. The Nano Profile simply allows Read/Write access to the Server’s data table and doesn’t require security. The Micro-Embedded Profile contains everything the Nano-Embedded contains plus functionality for subscriptions, publishing data and more. As Profiles increase in functionality the code space and ram requirements increase, often dramatically.
3. IGNORING DISCOVERY – One of the more unique and interesting features of OPC UA is that Clients can discover servers, interrogate them to discover their capabilities and then require access if they have data of interest to the client. There are many ways of discovering an OPC UA Server. You can choose to support the traditional mechanism where a Client would simply know your IP Address and connect directly. Or you might be working with a Discovery Server in your applications. Your device would register with the Discovery Server and Clients would find your server by interrogating the Discovery Server. Or you might choose to integrate a Discovery Server into your device.
4. CHOOSING THE WRONG SECURITY LEVEL– Lots of talk about security. How important is it to your device. If your server simply makes a chilled water temperature available, security may not make sense. But if your server tracks pharmaceuticals, security may be a requirement. What level of security do you want? What level of security are your customers requiring and how much do they want to pay? Security will always cost more bandwidth and system resources.
5. IGNORING THE CLIENT SIDE – What Client devices will be connecting to your server? The OPC UA specification has “evolved” over the last few years. Clients built on the 1.01 specification may not be able to connect to Servers built on the 1.02 specification even though every attempt was made to ensure backwards compatibility. All Clients are supposed to support all Profiles, all Transports and all implementations but in the real world that doesn’t always happen for a lot of reasons. If there is a specific Client that your customer might be using be sure to identify it and understand its capabilities.
6. DESIGNING AN INEFFECTIVE AND UNWORKABLE ADDRESS SPACE – Address Space design and implementation is always a major factor in the implementation of a communications protocol. It’s that way with EtherNet/IP, ProfiNet IO and even Modbus TCP. Given the flexibility in address space organization, data typing and object typing, there is a lot more to consider with OPC UA. It’s much more important to take time to evaluate what data you have, how you want to represent it and how your customer might want to access it.
6.5 PICKING THE WRONG PROVIDER – Not all OPC UA providers are alike. The least expensive may be the most costly in the end. The landscape for OPC UA is evolving. It is still very new technology. There are going to be bumps in the road, “enhancements” to the specifications and incompatibilities. Pick a partner like Real Time Automation that has a track record of excellent support, significant expertise in the technology and dedication to making your project a success.
What to Do Next
Your next step is to contact the RTA Project Manager and schedule a telephone consultation to discuss your application.
Moving Data From Other Systems to OPC UA…
In some cases when you talk to our OPC UA Engineer you’ll learn that source code isn’t your best option. In that case the RTA Engineer might suggest a gateway. You can use RTA gateways in low volume applications where incorporating OPC UA into your automation device isn’t the best option. Use the contact Us button at the top of this page or call RTA at 1-800-249-1612 to find out what gateway solutions might meet your needs.